In search for living wages

The year 2014 saw a rekindling of the struggle for a fair and living d minimum wage allowing workers to cope with the incessant increase in the cost of living and become independent from government assistance.

One obstacle on the road to improvement is the $7.25/hour federal minimum wage in place since 2009.

It is an anachronism that puts many on the brink of extreme poverty, even when they are working. It threatens those under 25, who are half of the people who earn minimum wage or less, and women, who are 65% of those earners. People who did not finish high school are 2.5 times more likely to earn minimum wage or less, as are two out of every three service or restaurant employees.

Lacking incentives to improve, a panorama of discrimination against the young, immigrants, minorities and the poor is perpetuated.

This year, several states recognized this and have approved compensations. California, for instance, agreed last September to raise minimum wage to $10 on January 1, 2016. In New York, it will increase from $8 to $9 in December 2015.

Still, minimum wage is an issue that concerns the nation as a whole. As if more evidence was needed, a recent study shows that states with higher minimum wage generate more jobs and improve their economy.

This is why it is important to follow and support legislative projects such as the S. 1737 — the Minimum Wage Fairness Act, — which would have raised the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 in 2016 but did not pass due to Republican opposition. It would have benefited 10 million workers as well as the government coffers, by reducing the amount of people who receive public assistance.

The effort of thousands of U.S. workers asking for a $15/hour minimum wage has gained momentum this year with public demonstrations demanding improvements that help offset the increase in the cost of living.

We hope that, in 2015, this pressure bears fruit, and that the situation of thousands of workers throughout the nation will improve